River Bend Food Reservoir is formed and housed in a small space at 1209 4th Ave., Moline, IL. Tom Laughlin becomes executive director, with Bud Vogel as board chair. The Food Bank distributes 190,000 pounds of food through partner agencies in the first year.
River Bend Food Bank is the 53rd food bank in the nation (out of 200) to join the Feeding America network (then called Second Harvest). Membership allows the Food Bank access to additional food resources, funding, and support services to grow the network of pantries in our service area.
The Food Bank moves to a larger location at 309 12th St., Moline, IL with 20,000 sq. ft. of warehouse space to meet the growing number of pantries in our network and the community need for food support.
The first “Kids’ Cafe” is hosted by the Food Bank at Friendly House in Davenport, IA. The program served to offer meals to kids in after-school programs.
The first mobile food pantry is hosted at Mulford Church in Muscatine, IA to meet people in need where they are. Mobile food pantries continue across the Food Bank’s service area, growing to over 175 every year.
The Bushels for Hunger partnership is launched with the Food Bank’s service area Farm Bureau organizations. Each year, during harvest time, local farmers can designate a portion of their crops as a donation at the grain elevator, which the Farm Bureau affiliates give to River Bend Food Bank. As of 2021, the Bushels for Hunger program has raised over 1.2 million meals!
River Bend Food Bank moves to a 60,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Davenport, IA to meet a continued growing need. The warehouse contains 5,000 sq. ft. of cooler/freezer space, allowing the Food Bank to safely house and distribute fresh produce, dairy products, and frozen proteins.
Founding executive director, Tom Laughlin, retires, turning over leadership to Mike Miller.
Long-time hunger-relief organization – Student Hunger Drive – merges to become a program of River Bend Food Bank. The six-week, friendly “competition” between dozens of area high schools remains the largest fundraiser. Funds and food raised every year support pantries’ needs for varieties of food while providing key leadership and philanthropy opportunities to engage local high school students in the Food Bank’s mission.
Dubuque-area partner – St. Stephen’s Food Bank – officially becomes a branch location for River Bend Food Bank. Both organizations have served communities in eastern Iowa and western Illinois since 1982, and with support from River Bend Food Bank St. Stephen’s grows to distribute over 3 million meals through 100+ partner agencies every year.
The Food Bank opens weekly hosted food pantries at SouthPark Mall in Moline, IL and NorthPark Mall in Davenport, IA to serve large populations of people facing hunger in the metro-Quad Cities area. Each pantry is open twice a week and provides food in a grocery store format to thousands of guests each month.
The global COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the Food Bank’s service area and the number of children and adults experiencing food insecurity increases by more than 50%. River Bend Food Bank distributes the largest number of meals in a single month in its history – 2 million, and distributes over 23 million meals in a single year.
River Bend Food Bank and the St. Stephen’s Branch celebrate 40th anniversaries (1982-2022). The Food Bank announces the launch of a capital campaign to expand the Davenport facility, allowing for more secure and accessible delivery and pick-up of food, increasing space for volunteer groups, and growing programs and services to meet the next generation of challenges for the community.
Nancy Renkes, former River Bend Food Bank staff member who became executive director of a Wisconsin food bank in 2020, returns to assume leadership as the Food Bank’s third president & CEO.
Out of an increased need to bring more healthy foods to rural communities in our service area, the Food Bank renovates and opens a third warehouse location in Galesburg, IL. The River Bend Food Bank, Galesburg Branch opens in the fall and will grow to distribute 5 million meals through partner agencies every year.